Whales and marines are some of the most magnificent animals on the planet, but they also face serious threats from human activities. As a result, conservation efforts are increasingly reliant on the Endangered Species Act and other laws that protect these creatures from extinction.
These animals are a vital part of our ecosystems and help maintain the health and diversity of our oceans. In addition to sustaining wildlife populations, a healthy and diverse marine environment can provide benefits to humans, such as cleaner air and water.
Some whales and dolphins are bred in captivity, but many are wild animals who should be allowed to live free. The humane society believes that whales and dolphins are best viewed in their natural coastal and ocean environments, and they should not be confined to concrete tanks just for the sake of a public attraction.
Most whales and dolphins are social animals, and they often live in groups for most of their lives. Some whales form large schools, while others are more solitary.
Whales have been around for more than 40 million years, and they share a lot of traits with land mammals, including even-toed hoofed hind limbs and nostrils near the front of their noses for breathing.
They have also evolved to have a layer of fat under their skin called blubber that can keep them warm in freezing polar waters. This layer is much thicker than the blubber found in other mammals, and it helps them survive long periods of time without food or water.
These traits are critical for the survival of whales in the wild. If they weren’t protected, they would likely have disappeared from the planet long ago.
As a result, they’re protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in U.S. waters and by the International Whaling Commission in international waters.
The North Atlantic right whale and its sister species, the North Pacific right whale, are both considered critically endangered by the Endangered Species Act. The two remaining populations of these animals are estimated to be fewer than 450 and 100 individuals, respectively.
Their decline is a reminder that we must apply the Endangered Species Act more aggressively, said Michael Moore, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Marine Mammal Center in Massachusetts. He and other conservationists argue that the law must play a strong role in the fight to save the whales, which were devastated by commercial whaling a century ago.
While the whale’s plight helped spur conservationists to action, it’s been a difficult battle. The marine industries that profit from fishing, shipping, and tourism have been slow to embrace the new regulations crafted under the Endangered Species Act, which are designed to address the most serious threats to these creatures.
Vessel traffic restrictions are a key part of the new regulations. Some industry leaders say they will be hard to comply with, but others believe that if they are put in place, they will help whales and other threatened species.